Thursday, May 13, 2010

True Life: I Can't Stop Watching "Fat Camp."


I think virtually everyone who's ever watched TV has known the treacherous sting of...TV kryptonite. Y'know, those shows (or for some people, entire genres) that, once they flash onscreen, the viewer is powerless to stop watching. Even if we know it's trash, and we know we should get up and find something more productive to do (or hell, even just find something better to watch)...we can't. Whether it's the numbing comfort of a
Law & Order marathon, an all-day America's Next Top Model binge, or a whole afternoon of sub-par National Lampoon movies on Comedy Central, everybody's got their something.

One of my most beloved guilty pleasures? The 2006 MTV documentary, Fat Camp. I'm putty in its hands.

The first time I saw it was shortly after it premiered in '06, at my friend Sarah's house. Instant classic. I shall be forever grateful to her for introducing me to this slice of magic (as well as the bingo channel, this infinitely-quotable Britney Spears interview, the octopus man, and this movie starring Roy Orbison as a cowboy whose guitar turns into a shotgun).

Fat Camp covers about eight weeks of goings-on at a weight loss camp in upstate New York. It focuses in most tightly on a handful of campers and junior counselors, but a lot of kids get face-time throughout the show and by the end, I'm always wishing they'd made it into a full-length series because two hours is never enough. It doesn't make fun of the kids or their weight, but it doesn't tiptoe around why they're there, either; if anything, it plays like a rustic version of The Biggest Loser, but with a lot more comedy and angst along the way.

There's so many things I love about
Fat Camp - the no-nonsense counselors, the idiotic romantic entanglements of serial drama-king Petey, the awesome absurdity of a helicopter flying over the camp to initiate the color wars - but my favorite part of Fat Camp by far is Dianne.



Dianne is hilarious, and what I love about her is that she gives as good as she gets. She gets picked on, but she can dish it out, too. She's the quintessential teenager; she feels like all this crap is beneath her, but she still runs to her mom when she needs someone to make her feel better. She's whiny, but hell, who among us wasn't whiny when we were teenagers?

Part of me wishes they'd release this on DVD. But part of me is glad they haven't, because crap, then I'd really be in trouble.


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